So I’ve been away, hence the silence. I was lucky enough, through a combination of library, family and personal resources, to be able to attend the 2014 ALSC Institute in Oakland, California. It was awesome. Children’s Services staff, I recommend it above all other conference and similar activities in terms of what it’s likely to do for your library. You will meet more people at a large conference, certainly you will have access to a trade show, which the Institute does not provide, but just think: two and a half days when EVERYTHING is children’s services related! You don’t have to go to that school library presentation that might be applicable to your job, or that really adult services session that might have a nugget. Everything is about what you do and how you do it (if you’re a children’s staff member in a public library; if you’re not, you probably won’t find it very interesting or useful).
I went to so many great sessions: STEAM Power your Library! Increasing Access to Books for Young Children! Inspired Collaborations! Dewey-Lite! Everything was so good, and so inspiring, I want to reinvent my department right away!
I also spent some vacation time with my lovely aunt in Berkeley, which is always lovely. If you’re from the northeast, whether Canada or the US, the sheer climatic awesomeness of California is kind of mind-blowing. It hardly ever freezes there! They grow more kinds of tomatoes than I knew existed! You can grow cactuses in your front yard! (if you come from a warm place, just let me say you have NO IDEA how mind-blowing the thought of no ice and snow is, much less cactuses outside all year). Every time I’m in Berkeley, I almost have a heart attack when I see the narrow, winding streets, but of course, if it doesn’t freeze much and never snows, your roads don’t need to be particularly wide or straight. Ours have to accomodate metre-wide snowbanks for about half the year and be driveable with ice and snow on them (which means the straighter the better), theirs don’t (another awesome thought). The Bay Area is not the California of legend–not acres of beaches and year-round sun–but it is awfully beautiful and full of lovely things to see (and to eat!). Go if you can.